A brush fire Tuesday afternoon in Redmond grew to 50-100 acres as the temperature soared to 111 degrees.
The fire, which started just after 2 p.m. near the Redmond Air Center, was initially reported as being larger, but fire officials downgraded the size Tuesday evening.
The Redmond Airport closed to air travel Tuesday afternoon, and one operations building on the north side of the airport property was evacuated, said Zach Bass, airport director. The terminal was not evacuated, but flights were diverted, delayed or canceled, Bass said. He said air travel would resume when fire crews say it’s safe.
Firefighters had earlier contained a smaller brush fire, called the Antler Fire, that started around 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday in Redmond near SE Evergreen Avenue off state Highway 126, according to Ken Kehmna, Redmond’s Fire chief.
State Highway 126 was closed in the area on Tuesday. One lane of the highway reopened just before 6 p.m.The causes of both fires are under investigation, Kehmna said. The fire is near several homeless encampments, which have had to be evacuated. Kehmna did not have an estimate for the number of homeless people affected.
“They aren’t concentrated, which is exacerbating the problem,” he said Tuesday afternoon.
In total 325 residential and commercial structures were contacted to be evacuated, Kehmna said. No injuries or deaths have been reported. No major property damage has been reported, though the personal property of the homeless campers could be impacted, he said.
As for the firefighters, who are battling these fires in historically high temperatures, Kehmna said the firefighters are OK so far, and they are focusing on keeping everyone hydrated.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office’s issued evacuation notices in the area.
The Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center was a designated evacuation shelter site, said center Director Geoff Hinds.